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UNC lifts economic blockade

Correspondent IMPHAL, MAR 19
Published on 19 Mar. 2017 11:39 PM IST
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In a huge sigh of relief, the United Naga Council (UNC) on Sunday decided to lift the 139-day long economic blockade along the two national highways in Manipur from Sunday midnight.
The decision was announced after a marathon tripartite meeting held at the DRDA hall, Senapati between the new BJP-led Manipur government, Government of India and the UNC.
As a first step, the new BJP government as assured, was able to achieve its goal by bringing an end to the economic blockade. The meeting was chaired by the MHA Joint Secretary (NE), Satyendra Garg.
In a joint statement, signed by GoI’s representative, Satyendra Garg; Addl. CS (Home) Dr. J Suresh Babu and commissioner (works) K. Radhakumar Singh of Manipur government and UNC represented by its general secretary, S. Milan, ANSAM president Seth Shatsang and Naga Women’s Union president L.M. Tabitha said: “To create conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue, the United Naga Council will lift the economic blockade with effect from tonight.”
It was also agreed upon by Manipur government to “unconditionally release” the UNC leaders and to close all cases related to the economic blockade against Naga leaders and students’ leaders. UNC president Gaidon Kamei and publicity secretary S Stephen were arrested by the state police in connection with violent incidents during the blockade on November 25 last year.
Further, Manipur government has also decided to start consultation with all stakeholders to redress the issue.
In this regard, the house resolved to hold the next tripartite meeting “within a month time at a political level.” Since the blockade was launched to oppose the creation of seven new districts out of Naga territory, it was not known whether UNC had accepted the creation of such districts by the previous government and whether UNC would be withdrawing other agitations like banning of national projects in Naga dominated hill, government office picketing etc.
Earlier, UNC demanded that the Ibobi-led government revoke the order for creation of the new districts.
It may be mentioned that the UNC had imposed the economic blockade to oppose the creation of new districts out of Naga territory. UNC alleged that the previous government had bifurcated the existing districts without their consent.
Meanwhile, UNC has appreciated the initiative and new approach of the government of Manipur in coming forward to address the core issue at hand.
Prior to the State Assembly elections, there had been at least two rounds of tripartite meetings to bring an end the blockade. However, the meeting was futile.

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